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Asbestos Analysis

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. Norbert Höfert1,
  2. Reiner König2

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0804

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Höfert, N. and König, R. 2006. Asbestos Analysis. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Commission on Air Pollution Prevention of VDI and DIN, Düsseldorf, Germany

  2. 2

    APC Analytische Produktions-, Steuerungs- und Controllgeräte GmbH, Kronberg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (9 JAN 2014)


The comprehensive use of asbestos in approximately 3000 industrial applications in the past requires asbestos analysis at present and in the future. The different analysis methods range from simple and cost-effective procedures in order to decide whether asbestos is present up to the expensive and time-consuming determination of low fiber number concentrations of asbestos fibers including the identification of the fiber type using highly sophisticated measurement equipment.

The following survey discusses the most relevant objectives of asbestos analysis and the measurement techniques that are applied:

  • Ambient/indoor air measurements – low concentration range, fiber type usually not known, identification required – using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in combination with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA) and selected area electron diffraction (SAED), and using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in combination with EDXA.

  • Workplace air measurements – low to high concentration range, fiber type usually known, identification possibly required – using SEM, TEM, and phase contrast optical microscopy (PCOM).

  • Stationary source emission measurements using SEM, TEM, and PCOM.

  • Bulk material analysis – usually qualitative measurements; semiquantitative or quantitative results possible, if required – using SEM, TEM, infrared (IR) spectroscopy, PCOM, polarized light microscopy (PLM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD).

  • Water analysis using TEM.